What to Expect in a Car Accident Claim
The pain and stress of a car accident do not always end when you leave the scene. For many, the process of recovering from an accident can be grueling, complicated, and confusing. What’s more, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, navigating the legal avenues to achieving needed compensation can be overwhelming. However, seeking compensation with the help of experienced legal counsel can provide financial relief for medical bills due to injuries. Below, the Baltimore personal injury attorneys at Peter Angelos Law explain how to navigate personal injury claims following a car accident.
Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Baltimore, MD Helps With Determining Fault for a Car Accident
Like all personal injury claims, fault must be established to bring a case against an individual following a car accident. In most states, the person at fault for a car accident is the person that is financially responsible for most accident-related claims, including vehicle damage or injuries caused. An insurance claims adjuster will determine who is at fault by conducting an investigation.
The investigation may include the following steps:
- Checking the police report
- Reviewing the information provided by involved parties
- Talking to those involved, including drivers, passengers, and bystanders
- Visiting the scene of the accident
- Examining vehicle damage
However, even if the other party is almost entirely to blame, receiving damages for your injuries might not be that simple. Maryland is one of just a few states that follows a theory of contributory negligence for deciding who is at fault, and to what degree. Under the theory of contributory negligence, a person can’t recover damages if they share any amount of blame for the accident, no matter how small. Because of this law, your claim may be dismissed if there is any evidence that you contributed to your accident. In these instances, it is especially important to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm in Baltimore to navigate your personal injury claim.
Types of Claims
In car accidents, the most common types of damages are awarded for personal injury claims and property damage claims to your vehicle. In personal damage claims, damages are enumerated at a value that includes reimbursement for medical bills and lost income, in addition to compensation for the more subjective “pain and suffering”. This value is typically assigned by one of two methods. The first method, the “multiplier” method, entails multiplying the claimant’s actual (or economic) damages, which includes medical bills and lost wages, by a certain number depending on the severity of the accident. The second method, known as the “daily rate,” calculates pain and suffering by assigning a per diem number that encompasses medical treatment and lost wages. While these methods can seem confusing, an attorney will be able to help maneuver this stage of the claim process.
If you have suffered as a result of an accident, it’s imperative that you pursue a personal injury claim. It’s no secret that medical treatment and medication can be incredibly expensive, let alone when coupled with lost wages. Car accidents can be a tremendous financial burden, but a personal injury lawyer in Baltimore, MD can aid in mitigating that burden once you file a personal injury claim.
In property damages claims, there are typically four steps for determining liability coverage depending on the severity of the accident, including an inspection of the vehicle, assessment of the nature and extent of damages, one or multiple repair estimates, and the payment.
What To Do After an Auto Accident
Being a victim of a car accident can be frightening, but it is important that you take certain measures following the accident. Doing so will allow you to gather evidence to better support your personal injury claim. The following things should be done at the scene of the accident:
- Check on the safety and well-being of all passengers and individuals involved. Call the paramedics if anyone seems to be injured, even if the injuries seem minor at the time of the accident.
- Call the police and ask that an officer be sent to the scene, regardless of how severe the accident seems to be. Having a police report created at the time of the accident is extremely important in determining which driver is legally at fault. This is especially important in no-fault states like Maryland.
- Exchange information with all parties involved in the accident. Obtain the name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle licenses, and insurance information from each driver. Ask for the names and contact information of any witnesses or bystanders present.
- Collect proof of the scene. Take pictures of the accident scene, including vehicles involved, traffic signals, and any obvious skid marks or debris. If relevant, take notes on the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident.
- Avoid making statements to the other drivers that could be used against you.
While the scene of an accident is often stressful and hectic, it is important that you take the time to thoroughly document your surroundings. Having this proof can be very beneficial to you and your legal team as you navigate your personal injury claim.
Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is important to take the following steps:
- Seek medical care. Obtain timely treatment for any injuries you sustained. Inform the physician that you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident. If your symptoms do not improve after treatment, do not hesitate to pursue a second opinion. The success of any claim you have for monetary damages from physical injuries will depend on a thorough medical record that documents your injuries, their relation to the accident, and their impact on your life.
- Consider hiring a car accident attorney. Dealing with an insurance company can be difficult under any circumstances, and after an accident, it can be daunting to engage in claim settlement negotiations. Try to find an expert car accident attorney to handle your personal injury claim, like those at Peter Angelos Law.
- Begin the insurance process. As soon as possible, contact your automobile insurance company to report the accident. Provide as much information about the accident as you can. Report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company. Exercise caution when speaking with the other driver’s insurance. For this stage, it’s usually best to have your attorney speak to the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Hiring a personal injury law firm in Baltimore for a car accident claim is crucial if you are looking to receive maximum compensation for all damages, including injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and more. By hiring a lawyer early in the process, your claim process will be much smoother, and you’ll avoid certain mistakes insurance companies are looking for you to make.
A lawyer will also be able to assist you with the number of options for causes of action to bring against the other party and their insurance company in order to pay for the damages you suffered. Your attorney will counsel you on your various options for successfully pursuing a claim and assist you in the process of completing the option(s) you select. To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, the most useful step you can take would be to hire an experienced car accident attorney who will know how to best handle your case.
Contact Peter Angelos Law
A car accident can be traumatic enough; don’t let the subsequent legal process add to your stress. Financial compensation can help relieve the strain of added medical bills and missed wages from work. Our team of attorneys has years of experience representing the greater Baltimore area and beyond in personal injury claims that result from automobile accidents. Contact one of our expert attorneys at Peter Angelos Law today.